Gerry Triano covers the IFBB New York Pro Championships 2008

Twelve weeks out from his USA competition, Bryan Pazdzierz shows his progress. Photos by Gerry Triano

Bryan and pro competitor Ben White before the evening show.

IFBB New York Pro Championships 2008

Held May 10, 2008, at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in lower Manhattan
Promoters: Steve Weinberger and Bev Francis
See photos at:

This year's event consisted of three divisions:

1. MuscleTech Open Men's Pro
2. Shawn Ray/Vyotech  Under 202-pound Men's Pro
3. Species Nutrition Women's Pro Bodybuilding

Prejudging for all divisions started at 11 a.m. The 202 men's division was judged first, followed by the women and then open men. Emcee for the prejudging was Kenny Kassel.

In each division, prejudging consisted of each competitor doing an individual short routine which had to include all mandatory poses. Then the competitors were brought out for quarter-turn comparisons. Then lineups were held with individual callouts.

202 competitors were permitted to cross over to the open if they wished -- and many did. However, the 202 competitors did not have to execute the short routine again. But naturally, they had to be compared again in callouts with the open athletes.

202 was a strong division and afforded an opportunity for these athletes to receive some well earned recognition and prize money. First callout consisted of Charles Dixon, Dave Henry, Jason Arntz, and Kevin English. This group and all others went through quarter turns and mandatory pose comparisons.

This was a deep and competitive group, underscored by the fact that Roc Shabazz, Guy Ducasse, Lou Joseph, and Brian Chamberlain all landed in the second callout. Sixteen competitors were in this division.

It was onderful to see the women bodybuilders return to this show (last time was in 2005). There were 19 competitors, and this too was a strong group of athletes. First callout consisted of Rosemary Jennings, Debi Laszewski, Cathy Le Francois, Jeannie Paparone, Annie Riveccio, and Dena Westerfield. The lineup was so deep that fine athletes like Debbie Bramwell and Colette Nelson landed in the second callout.

The open men's group had a total of 34 competitors, including 14 crossovers from the 202 division. As good a group as this was, Kai Greene was dominant right from the start. Besides Kai, first callout consisted of Dave Henry, Kevin English, Craig Richardson, Ronny Rockel and Ben White. Kai was sent back to the main lineup after the comparison, and the other five were compared again. Charles Dixon, Leo Ingram, and Martin Kjellstrom were in the second callout.

The evening show started at 7 p.m. The 202 division was emceed by Shawn Ray and the other divisions were hosted by Bob Cicherillo. In each division, the competitor had the opportunity to perform a two-minute posing routine (at the two-minute mark, lights were lowered and the emcee said "thank you" and introduced the next competitor). The 202 athletes who crossed over only posed with the 202 group. After all three divisions posed, the top five were introduced by division, and comparisons and posedowns executed.

Before final results were announced, well deserved Best Poser awards went  to “Tricky” Jackson and  Debi Laszewski. The judging seemed good and all divisional winners were deserving (Kai Greene in the men’s open, Kevin English in the 202, and Cathy LeFrancois in the womens' event). The top five open men, and top three women, qualified for the Olympia Weekend in September 2008.

The evening show was close to sold out, with most of the empty seats were in the mezzanine as opposed to orchestra, which was $20 more. The 202 and women's events seemed more competitive and interesting than the open. On the whole, the show was well paced and the level of competition uniformly good. Although not in the top five in their division, I was impressed with Lou Joseph, Brian Chamberlain, Leo Ingram, Evgeny Mishin, Ben White, Martin Kjellstrom, Debbie Bramwell, and Kim Buck. I suspect they have some contest wins coming.

Gerry Triano

May 2008